I like to make people gifts. It’s sort of a selfish thing to do in a way, since I mainly do it because of how much I enjoy making things and not with the idea of doing something nice for someone. Regardless of the reasoning, I figure as long as something is functional people will be inclined to use or enjoy it. That’s why this year I decided everyone needed a Cobra Cutting Board. That, and because based on the amount of time I had and the tools at my disposal it seemed like the most ideal gift to mass produce.
One Saturday, Holly and I went to get some speciality wood so I could get started with plenty of time. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for since the only hardwood I’ve ever worked with was usually purchased by my boss or whatever school I was attending. I got some assistance from the people working there, found some ideal pieces and even got some advice on how to finish a cutting board properly.
The following day I went to Holly’s mum’s house to rip 1½” strips of the material I bought, which proved more difficult than I had anticipated. I purchased both maple and walnut, as I wanted to mix light and dark woods. The maple was incredibly hard on the table saw, although a large amount of the problem was likely the dull blade I need to replace. I was only able to rip two strips of each before the smoke from the blade was too thick to breathe. Luckily two strips was enough to get started on the first cutting board, which was intended for Holly’s mum, whose birthday falls just before Christmas. I began gluing as soon as I got home, and by the next morning I was ready to start planing.
I brought the planer from Holly’s mum’s house and set it up in our basement so I could work without being a pain in everyone’s ass. It took quite a while to plane them down to finished thickness, but I’m okay with that. Half way through planing the first board, the planer ripped the end piece off. I was forced to re-glue it and wait until the next day to finish planing. Had I not used such a thick piece, when that happened, I wouldn’t have been able to correct the resulting damage.
Once re-glued and planed to finish size I decided to route the edges. One more trip to Holly’s mum’s to use the router table, and it was time to finish sand, burn, and oil. Every step of the way the boards looked more like how I had pictured them, and I grew more and more pleased with how they were turning out. I made some drying racks, bought some butcher’s block oil and applied three coats to each board.
In total I made four large cutting boards as gifts for people, then I managed to put together three small cutting / serving boards using the scraps for Holly. And if I’m being honest, the little ones I made from scraps are my favourites.
I plan to make a few more, and have already had a request for a large board for one of Holly’s friends. Some people who have seen them have said I should make and sell these. I however, am not sure there is enough room for profit. The woods cost me so much, I’d be forced to sell each board for a minimum of about $65. I personally, would never pay $65 for something hard to cut on, but supposedly people do. If that’s the case, I’m missing out. Perhaps in the new year I’ll attempt to move some cutting boards on Etsy.